Grossmont Griffins men’s water polo starts new era with 26-7 win

0
369
WEBOBrien_save.jpg

Brian Harvey was an icon at Grossmont College as head coach of the men’s water polo team. Harvey led the Griffins to 20 conference titles during his 25-year tenure and collected more than 600 wins.

Harvey retired last year after guiding Grossmont to its third consecutive Pacific Athletic Conference championship. The Griffins appear in good hands, however, under the reins of new head coach Ty Lackey, a former Grossmont player and assistant coach.

Brian Harvey was an icon at Grossmont College as head coach of the men’s water polo team. Harvey led the Griffins to 20 conference titles during his 25-year tenure and collected more than 600 wins.

Harvey retired last year after guiding Grossmont to its third consecutive Pacific Athletic Conference championship. The Griffins appear in good hands, however, under the reins of new head coach Ty Lackey, a former Grossmont player and assistant coach.

The Griffins inaugurated a new era in its illustrious history while handing Lackey his first career win as Grossmont’s new head coach after defeating host Southwestern College, 26-7, in the opening game of the 2014 season for both teams on Sept. 3.

Lackey, a graduate of Patrick Henry High School, brings an impressive resume to Grossmont. He won six national championship gold medals playing for the San Diego Shores club team, earned six club All-American nominations and earned honors as the MVP of the 2001 Junior Olympics.

At PHHS, he won the 100-yard freestyle event at the San Diego Section swimming finals his senior year en route to being named the schools’ Male Athlete of the Year in 2001.

After receiving his Associate’s Degree from Grossmont College, Lackey transferred to UC San Diego. The former Patriots and Griffins star played two years for the Tritons, leading UCSD in scoring his senior year with 77 goals as the team posted a No. 5 national ranking – tied for highest in school history.

Lackey sees his new position as an opportunity to continue player development and placement to higher competitive levels.

“To move these kids on to four-year schools—that’s my only goal,” he said following the season opening win over the Jaguars.

Impact players this season for the Griffins include sophomores Jorge Perez-Romo, Darrough Riggs and Antonio Geraldo-Peralta and freshman goalie Rockne O’Brien.

Perez-Romo is the returning PCAC Player of the Year. He had eight goals in the season opening victory against Southwestern, matching that of Geraldo-Peralta.

Riggs is the team’s key defensive player while O’Brien, a high school All-American at Valhalla, notched 13 saves in the win over the Jags.

Grossmont, which finished the 2013 season ranked sixth in the state with a 24-6 record, dominated its 2014 season opener, leading 8-1 SWC at the end of the opening quarter, 13-1 at halftime and 18-5 heading into the final quarter.

“We’re top-heavy with sophomores this year,” Lackey said. “We have a lot of experienced players and we’re ahead of where I thought we would be at this point of the season I think because of that.”

Besides Grossmont and Southwestern, the PCAC line-up also includes Palomar, San Diego Mesa and Miramar colleges. Teams will play each other twice during the regular season, with the standings serving as seeding positions for the season-ending championship tournament in November.